Why Should I Care? - El Niño

As winter sets in, Californians are pinning their hopes on a robust El Niño to ease the drought. In addition to drought relief, water managers and public works directors are acutely aware of the water running through their storm drains—impervious channels used for controlling floods but which can also carry pollutants. That said, the behavior of El Niño is unpredictable and could precipitate at least two surprises water managers can plan for. The first is the public expectation that run-off from rooftops, lawns and streets will be diverted and stored for dry years. The second is the potential for steep fines if urban runoff exceeds water quality limits defined by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Key to ensuring public confidence in local water systems is the ability to anticipate questions from elected officials and the public in an informed and timely manner. “If we don't take control of the needs now and plan and invest for the future, we will either tap ourselves out of water or have to pay a lot more due to the increase in the cost of imported water,” said Adel H. Hagekhalil, Assistant Director of the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation...(continued)

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